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Promoting Mental Health as a Universal Human Right

Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day. At the Electrical Industries Charity, we pride ourselves on championing for better mental health for those in the electrical industry.

As part of our overall health and well-being, good mental health stands as a vital thread. It equips us to navigate life’s challenges, forge meaningful connections with others and flourish throughout our journey. This essential aspect of our well-being deserves recognition and respect.

Mental health, in essence, is a universal human right, firmly rooted in the bedrock of human rights principles. These principles exist to uphold and safeguard our dignity, autonomy, and inclusion within our communities. Within this framework, every individual possesses the inalienable right to access high-quality mental health care.

Embracing the universality of mental health as a human right underscores the need for equitable access to treatment that honours our unique needs and preserves our rights over the course of our lives.

The impact of mental health conditions on the well-being of young people cannot be overstated. Globally, one in seven adolescents grapples with these conditions, with depression emerging as a leading cause of adolescent suffering and disability. It is imperative that we confront and dismantle the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health, ensuring that every person can live their life free from prejudice, be it in educational institutions or workplaces.

Furthermore, the right to live independently and be an active part of our communities is a fundamental human right. To enable this, individuals must have access not only to quality mental health services but also to education, income opportunities, housing, and social support.

The significance of robust community-based mental health services and supports cannot be overstated. Mental health and well-being are the bedrock of a fulfilling life, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that everyone can access these essential resources. Early intervention and access to mental health support can profoundly impact the well-being of both young people and adults in the years to come, making it a priority for nations worldwide.

Recognising mental health as a universal human right empowers individuals to advocate for themselves and those around them. Awareness of one’s rights is the first step toward claiming them. By engaging individuals with lived experience of mental health conditions in decision-making processes, we can positively shape policies, laws, and service planning, drawing from their invaluable expertise.

Remember, while our minds are unique and intricate, our rights remain the same. Knowing your mental health rights allows you to stand up for what’s right—both for yourself and for others.

Discussing Your Mental Well-being:

  • Find somebody you trust: Select someone you have faith in to confide in. This person could be a friend, family member, or colleague. Alternatively, you might feel more at ease sharing with a stranger through a support helpline. It might be beneficial to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of talking to someone beforehand.
  • Find the right place: It’s essential to pick a location where you feel comfortable enough to open up. You might prefer a private spot where interruptions are less likely. Alternatively, you could opt for a more active approach, such as having a conversation while taking a walk together.
  • Prepare yourself for their response: Ideally, your conversation about your mental health will yield a positive experience. However, there’s a chance that the other person may not react as expected, possibly due to concerns or initial misunderstandings. In such cases, consider giving them time to process your disclosure. Providing them with educational materials to help them understand better can be beneficial. And remember to be kind to yourself and practice self-care during this process.

Supporting Someone with Their Mental Health:

  • Create a Distraction-Free Space for Conversation: If you’re concerned about someone’s mental health, strive to find a suitable environment where you can have an uninterrupted conversation. Ensure that you give them your full attention, which may involve turning off your phone.
  • Listen Actively and Ask Relevant Questions: Listening attentively can be one of the most valuable ways to support someone. Demonstrate your active engagement by facing them, maintaining eye contact, and refraining from interrupting. Asking pertinent questions can help clarify their thoughts and also show that you’re actively listening. Ensure that your questions align with their conversation and don’t divert from the subject.
  • Inquire About How You Can Assist: Rather than dictating what they should do, ask how you can be of help or make suggestions. They may require support in booking a doctor’s appointment, assistance with household tasks, or simply a normal conversation about your life to maintain a sense of normalcy.

Maintaining Your Mental Well-being:

There are numerous strategies to nurture your mental health. Some days may be easier than others, and that’s perfectly fine. Here are some ideas:

  • Prioritize Quality Sleep: Establishing a consistent sleep routine can significantly enhance overall mental health and well-being.
  • Live in the Present: Disconnect from your mobile devices, limit social media and news consumption, as excessive exposure can foster negative thoughts and hinder activities you enjoy.
  • Engage in Personal Activities: Explore or revisit hobbies and interests, such as art, dancing, or cooking.
  • Embrace Nature: Spending time outdoors, whether for a walk or contemplation, can greatly boost mental health. Observe your surroundings to divert your mind from negative thoughts.
  • Exercise: Physical activity releases endorphins, fostering a sense of well-being and channelling negative energy into positive endeavours. Consider yoga, running, gym workouts, or home-based exercises.
  • Connect with Others: Conversations with people can elevate your mood and create a positive mental atmosphere. Joining local groups, calling loved ones, or engaging in friendly interactions can bring a smile to your day.

Mental Health in the Workplace:

In recent years, we’ve witnessed global challenges, including a pandemic, economic downturns, increased living costs, and changes in the workplace landscape. Work constitutes a significant portion of our lives, making it crucial to address poor mental health, which can lead to prolonged work absences and a negative spiral.

At EIC, we offer Mental Health First Aider training to companies in our industry, equipping employers with the knowledge to support their employees’ mental health. It’s essential to promote good mental health in the workplace, and your employer is there to help. If you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your HR team or management for assistance.

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